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Flying Solo

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Flying Solo Book Poster Image
Funny, real, and powerfully moving.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 8 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

The children hide the fact that they are unsupervised for the day, and lie to maintain their situation.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there are some good moral issues to discuss here, and some powerful insights into people and the reasons why they act the way they do.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byfletcher17 April 9, 2008


it was so great
Parent of a 9 year old Written bySawyerAshton December 13, 2011

Character is how you act when nobody's watching

Great book. Gives a great message about character. Also teaches a bit about grieving death. A day in the life of kids with no teacher.
Teen, 13 years old Written byanimallover1262 March 23, 2010

Best Fiction Book EVER!

Ok! Well...I am 13 years old and I read the book. It is not bad for kids. The only thing is that the kids are on there own, so it might give a idea or two. I lo... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byUr1loveforevea January 19, 2011

This book i think is good for all ages.

i think that this book is very good because it teaches me and kids a lesson that you need to work together to do anything . i really like this book so does my c... Continue reading

What's the story?

When the substitute for Mr. Fabiano's sixth grade class calls in sick, her message is misplaced in the hectic office, and the children find themselves without a teacher. Rather than tell anyone, the students decide to run the class themselves. They know the schedule -- who needs adults? \"What could possibly happen? This school is crawling with teachers.\"

But powerful emotions are brewing under the seemingly ordinary surface; this is the six-month anniversary of the death of a classmate, Tommy, who was often teased for his slowness, and Rachel has been mute ever since his death. And it is Bastian's last day before moving away.

Is it any good?

Ralph Fletcher teaches writing, and he teaches teachers how to teach writing; here, he shows that he knows what he's talking about. Written in simple language, this is a tour de force with an emotional climax and some big questions left at the end for readers to wrestle with.

The children in this class are vividly alive, each a three-dimensional person with strengths and faults, all of which will be recognizable to child readers. As they bicker their way through the day they achieve, almost in spite of themselves, something they're proud of, though their parents and school are horrified by what they have done. Though the teacher, Mr. Fabiano, appears only at the end, his presence is felt on every page -- it's a portrait, both brilliant and realistic, of a truly gifted teacher. Funny, real, and powerfully moving, this exceptional novel will leave both students and teachers with a lot to think about.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Rachel's decision not to speak after Tommy's death. Why does she make that decision? Does it make sense to you? Families can also discuss the kids' decision not to report that they don't have a teacher. Are their intentions good? What would you have done?

Book details

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